Book: This Is My Dollhouse
Author: Giselle Potter
Age Range: 4-8
My daughter brought This Is My Dollhouse by Giselle Potter home from the library, and we both enjoyed it very much. It's about a girl who has made her own dollhouse out of a cardboard box. She's made most of the furniture and other items, too. There's a block with burners drawn on it to make a stove, a couch made from a green and yellow kitchen sponge, etc. The girl plays with the cobbled-together dollhouse family every day, making them foods like noodles from cut pieces of yellow string, and singing them to sleep.
Her friend, Sophie, in contrast, has a "perfect" dollhouse, with plastic people and plastic food. Acceptable play with Sophie's dollhouse is dictated by the available, pre-made accessories. No creativity is allowed. When Sophie comes over to play, the narrator worries about the potential rejection of her home-made dollhouse. Instead, however, Sophie is charmed, and the two girls take the dollhouse family on a delightful vacation.
This Is My Dollhouse is a celebration of creativity and imagination. It feeds the child reader's fascination with making things, and with little things. My own daughter was inspired to make a cup of "popcorn" (tiny balls of rolled-up toilet paper), like the one in the book. I'm rather surprised that she has yet to build her own dollhouse, though she has been asking to make some dioramas out of old shoeboxes.
Potter's text is straightforward, written in the first person, and demonstrates occasional flashes of humor. Like this:
"I made a TV by cutting a hole in a little silver box and gluing a picture inside. I can change the picture whenever I want.
The rug is a very small piece of carpet I cut off the one in my room. (So far, no one has noticed.)"
That last aside made me give a little snort of laughter. Here's one more snippet:
"Mommy makes them fried eggs (circles cut from white paper, with yellow colored centers),
and then the twins take the elevator up, up, up and
swim in the rooftop pool in their bikinis."
Potter's illustrations fill in more of the details, such as the method of making the popcorn, the girl's choice to use a shoe as an airplane, etc. Her distinctive illustration style, with its old-fashioned feel and sometimes skewed perspectives, is a perfect fit for this story. The expressions of the two girls, when bored at Sophie's house, are priceless, as is the narrator's look of quiet satisfaction on the book's final page.
This Is My Dollhouse would be a great choice for any child who enjoys making things. It belongs in libraries everywhere, particularly those serving early elementary school children. It would make a wonderful birthday or holiday gift, especially if accompanied by a large cardboard box. Highly recommended.
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (@RandomHouseKids)
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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